Friday, April 30, 2010

Advocating Public Education Roundup 10W17 - No School Closures

The Animo Social Justice (?) Charter is closing for no other reason than Green Dot cannot show a return on their financial investment. Skeels' - a very adept freelance forensic accountant - questioning of Petruzzi's "We don't have a rich guy...." is right on. It shows that Green Dot's rich guys are putting their eggs in more lucrative baskets - like another Green Dot school on the Westside. [Read the Billionaires Boys Club chapter in Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System] — Scott M. Folsom (4LAKids)

Stand by students, parents, and community — keep Animo Justice open, no more school closures! Photo Credit O. MichaelI had a bunch of article deadlines recently, so I was very glad to see Caroline Grannan hold down the fort here with some really excellent articles and commentary. This roundup will focus on the articles pertaining to local school closures and the struggles to prevent those neoliberal "solutions."

As part of my ongoing campaign of shameless self promotion, I'll mention my articles first. In Taking on a charter school closing I cover the struggle for justice by the Ánimo Justice students against their capricious cash conscious corporate CMO. The previous piece was published the day of the big community forum on school closures and the historic march of the Ánimo Justice community all the way to Green Dot Public Schools' headquarters in luxurious World Trade Center building downtown. My write up of those two events appears in South Central protests school closures.

Jose Lara 0106 Video Blog [Fremont Reconstitution]

[Click if you can't view the video]

I really like what that one guy is saying at the 1:40 mark, especially his stance on taxing the rich.

The last article I was tied up with was about one of the most pernicious advocates of school closures and hostile take-overs by corporate charters, none other than poverty pimp and chief privatization cheerleader, Ben Austin. My exposé Political Patronage for Green Dot Public Schools’ Chief Propagandist tears the ugly mask off the hideous face of this repugnant and reprehensible privatizer.

Other coverage of these topics

Kevin Douglas Grant, senior editor of Neon Tommy wrote an excellent report about the forum in Two South LA High Schools Combine Efforts As They Fight To Save Themselves.

Scott M. Folsom liked my South Central protests school closures piece so much, he reprinted it with an introduction and some very cogent commentary following on his high profile blog 4LAKids under the title Fremont High, Ánimo/Green Dot Social Justice Charter, Menlo Adult School: SOUTH CENTRAL PROTESTS SCHOOL CLOSURES + smf’s 3¢.

Two more pieces that address the Ánimo Justice tragedy. Mike Klonsky has a good write up in It's hard to lose something you were so involved and invested in. He's actually spoken to Steve Barr and also has some great quotes from students and other people. Fred Klonsky discussed the sit-ins back in March in Green Dot's Animo Justice Charter shutting down. Students are sitting in.

José's thoughts on Fremont

I found this statement about Fremont HS so profound, I had to reprint it here.

Stand by students, parents, and community — keep Fremont HS open, no more school closures! title=

"I am in support of the teachers of Fremont because I am tired of untested education reform fads." There is absolutely NO creditable evidence that reconstitution, a process of firing all the teachers and making them reapply for their jobs, has a positive effect on the education of the students that attend that same school. I am in support of the teachers of Fremont because I am tired of untested education reform fads that do nothing to improve the education of our students, but instead threaten, intimidate, and blame the teachers for systematic problems in education created by years of neglect by LAUSD. The reality is that the reconstitution of Fremont is less about reform and more about threatening teachers into accepting untried reforms based solely on high-stakes testing that cut our contractual rights and use our students as guinea pigs for educational experience. Like with all bullies, we must stand up to the LAUSD superintendent. If we do not stop this threatening bully now, all our schools will be next. I encourage everyone to get involved with the struggle against the reconstitution of Fremont because only united, will we win! — Jose Lara (Santee Education Complex HS)

While Fremont is foremost in our minds, we also should be supporting the community at Lincoln HS, where the conniving LAUSD President Monica Garcia has schemed with some scabs including Beth Kennedy and Scott Petri to reconstitute one of the school's SLC via a loophole in the Pilot MOU. This type of class collaboration with our oppressors is unfortunate and reeks of the highest sort of opportunism outside of the realm of the privatizers.

More right wing mendacity on Ánimo Justice

Going back to the Ánimo Justice coverage. Even the mainstream press, normally sycophantic in the extreme to Green Dot Public [sic] Schools, were fairly neutral in their reporting. For a change they didn't use the occasion to cheerlead school privatization.

However, on the extreme reactionary realm of Reason, champion of Freidman's failed free market fantasies and bastion of the throughly discredited Austrian School of economics, Randite Lisa Snell [1] tries (like all ed-(de)reformers) to spin the closure in a positive light. However, her assertions, like her politics, fall flat on their face.

Snell, who is woefully uninformed on education issues to begin with, falls for reprinting Green Dot's press release in the Los Angeles Times without fact checking:

Closing Animo Justice makes sense because it has not equaled other Green Dot schools in performance... Petruzzi said. [2]

Of course Randite Snell is merely quoting Howard Blume's article which didn't vet information. However, had Snell taken the time to put aside Atlas Shrugged long enough to fact check her regurgitation of falsehoods she would have realized Ánimo Justice Charter High School actually outperforms three other, or 20% of Green Dot's local campuses. In other words, Ánimo Justice isn't even in the bottom quintile of Green Dot's perpetual bottom dwellers in terms of performance.

This coupled with Marco Petruzzi's other huge lie to the Ánimo Justice community:

We have no money. We're a nonprofit. We don't have a rich guy that gives us extra. — Marco Petruzzi

Of course they don't have "a rich guy," they have dozens! Maybe pathological liar Petruzzi used this slight nuance as a way to rationalize not counting the millions upon millions of dollars heaped on Green Dot by billionaires and their foundations including the Walton Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad, Bill and Melinda Gates, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Donald Fisher of the Gap, and many others.

While we all know there is no honor among businessmen, lies of this magnitude do speak volumes to the type of people running charter-voucher schools. Petruzzi, Burton, Ponce, and all the other corporate vultures like Wallace, will go to any length to keep the money flowing in. Sadly, children and communities lose every time a charter-voucher school displaces a public school. The degree of mendacity and malfeasance these corporate charter-voucher school executives exhibit is nothing short of astonishing.

There has already been news that Green Dot is planning on opening two more charter-voucher schools, further proving that the entire Ánimo Justice incident is all about the money.

Jose Lara 0105 Video Blog [Animo Justice]

[Click if you can't view the video]

Be sure to visit Jose Lara's Video Blog


It wouldn't be surprising if Poverty Pimps Gabe Rose, Shirley Ford and Ben Austin turned out to be huge fans of Lisa Snell, they all share the same extreme right wing economic views. After all, the former both quote AEI, Cato, Hoover, Hudson, and other discredited right wing "think" tanks and actually talk about competition and markets as if they're a good thing!


I wanted to sneak this tidbit in: the 2006 Green Dot Educational Project 990 lists Marco Petruzzi’s insatiable former school privatization profiteering outfit — R3 School Solutions — as having raked in $141,500 of the public’s money via the Green Dot cash cow. Another win for the kids. Putting kids first. A kids centered agenda. No adult agendas here whatsoever.


Monday, April 26, 2010

The private sector rewards only true merit — not!

Blaming teachers is the current hottest fad in “education reform,” and the sub-fad is pronouncing that getting rid of “bad teachers” would magically solve all our problems.

Of course there are some truly problematic teachers who shouldn’t be teaching at all, so let’s note that right off the bat. But what I’m addressing here is the frequently repeated claim that the private sector just efficiently gets rid of the bad and rewards the good and doesn’t have these problems. A parent posted the comment below on one of our local education listserves here in San Francisco, in response to one of those claims. I’m reposting it anonymously with her permission.

I have to chime in about the supposed efficiencies of the private sector. My husband works for a large corporation that, like so many, first underwent "extreme hiring" during the boom and then underwent massive layoffs.

If the private sector was so good at weeding those who perform poorly from those
who do well, you'd think only the best and the brightest would be left, but that isn't true. Certainly he works with a lot of great people, but there is still deadwood, including a couple in management. Usually these are people who talk a good line (and so might be best used in sales, to be honest), but never turn in their piece of the project on time.

Here’s my own view. My background in a private-sector industry is in unionized daily newspapers. Our pay scale was based on seniority, from <1 year to >6 years, and then negotiated raises in the contract. "Overscale" pay could be and was awarded on an individually negotiated basis — the equivalent of merit pay, of course.

The universal belief among my colleagues was that overscale was awarded when an employee was in a specific position to leverage management — for example, I made some due to taking on an unappealing position that nobody wanted, in an emergency — or to employees who were particularly aggressive and skilled at negotiating.

There was not a shred of belief in our newsroom that overscale was awarded based on actual pure merit.

I still sometimes see the byline of a former co-worker who was barely functional doing the actual job (reporting, writing, editing) but who was always charming, persuasive and winning, and gave great meeting. That colleague moved up from my former workplace, the San Jose Mercury News, to one of the names you would immediately mention if you were asked to name the nation’s top three or four newpapers.

I’m not sure where the people who believe that the private sector is so great and successful at rewarding the good and weeding out the bad have been working, but I’m not completely convinced it’s on Planet Earth.

— Caroline Grannan, San Francisco


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time to pressure Rep. George Miller : revoke NCLB

Noted education commentator and author Diane Ravitch was in my part of the state, the San Francisco Bay Area, last week, urging Bay Area residents to launch a protest campaign to pressure our own Rep. George Miller to stop defending the No Child Left Behind law — which is based on (as Ravitch says) "measure and punish."

Miller co-sponsored the original law, but I asked her Ravitch there's any reason to pressure him at this point. She explained that he can control reauthorization of the law, and that Nancy Pelosi and the House Education Committee do what he wants. Miller’s district is in the East Bay, and he has offices in Richmond, Concord and Vallejo. Contact info at the end of this post.

I'm posting a string of quotes from Ravitch — both from her book "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" and from commentaries by her and interviews with her — to clarify why No Child Left Behind should be viewed as harming schools and even as a threat to the future of public education.

As 2014 draws nearer, growing numbers of schools across the nation are approaching an abyss. Because NCLB requires states to promise that they will reach an impossible goal, the states have adopted timetables agreeing to do what they can't do, no matter how hard teachers and principals try. Most have stretched out the timetable — putting off the biggest gains for the future — to stave off their inevitable failure. The school officials who wrote the timetables in the early years of implementation must have hoped or expected that they would be retired and gone long before 2014 arrived. With every passing year that brought the target date closer, more and more public schools failed to make AYP and were labeled as "failing." Even though some states lowered the cut scores (or passing marks) on their tests to make it easier for schools to meet their target, many still failed to make AYP toward 100 percent proficiency for every subgroup. And in states that maintained high standards and did not lower the cut scores, even more schools fell behind.
One of the unintended consequences of NCLB was the shrinkage of time available to teach anything other than reading and math. Other subjects, including history, science, the arts, geography, even recess, were curtailed in many schools. Reading and mathematics were the only subjects that counted in calculating a school's adequate yearly progress, and even in these subjects, instruction gave way to intensive test preparation. Test scores became an obsession. Many school districts invested heavily in test-preparation materials and activities. Test-taking skills and strategies took precedence over knowledge. Teachers used the tests from previous years to prepare their students, and many of the questions appeared in precisely the same format every year; sometimes the exact same questions reappeared on the state tests. In urban schools, where there are many low-performing students, drill and practice became a significant part of the daily routine.
NCLB was a punitive law based on erroneous assumptions about how to improve schools. It assumed that reporting test scores to the public would be an effective lever for school reform. It assumed that changes in governance would lead to school improvement. It assumed that shaming schools that were unable to lift test scores every year — and the people who work in them — would lead to higher scores. It assumed that low scores are caused by lazy teachers and lazy principals, who need to be threatened with the loss of their jobs. Perhaps most naively, it assumed that higher test scores on standardized tests of basic skills are synonymous with good education. Its assumptions were wrong. Testing is not a substitute for curriculum and instruction. Good education cannot be achieved by a strategy of testing children, shaming educators, and closing schools.
In the NCLB era, when the ultimate penalty for a low-performing school was to close it, punitive accountability achieved a certain luster, at least among the media and politicians. Politicians and non-educator superintendents boasted of how many schools they had shuttered. Their boasts won them headlines for "getting tough" and cracking down on bad schools. But closing down a school is punitive accountability, which should happen only in the most extreme cases, when a school is beyond help. Closing schools should be considered a last step and a rare one. It disrupts lives and communities, especially those of children and their families. It destroys established institutions, in the hope that something better is likely to arise out of the ashes of the old, now-defunct school. It accelerates a sense of transiency and impermanence, while dismissing the values of continuity and tradition, which children, families, and communities need as anchors in their lives. It teaches students that institutions and adults they once trusted can be tossed aside like squeezed lemons, and that data of questionable validity can be deployed to ruin people's lives.
Tests are necessary and helpful. But tests must be supplemented by human judgment. When we define what matters in education only by what we can measure, we are in serious trouble. When that happens, we tend to forget that schools are responsible for shaping character, developing sound minds in healthy bodies (mens sana in corpore sano), and forming citizens for our democracy, not just for teaching basic skills. We even forget to reflect on what we mean when we speak of a good education. Surely we have more in mind than just bare literacy and numeracy. And when we use the results of tests, with all their limitations, as a routine means to fire educators, hand out bonuses, and close schools, then we distort the purpose of schooling altogether.
Results from this multibillion-dollar undertaking have been disappointing. Gains in achievement have been meager, as we have seen not only on NAEP's long-term-trend report, but also on the NAEP tests that are administered every other year. In national assessments since the No Child Left Behind legislation was passed, 4th grade reading scores went up by 3 points, about the same as in the years preceding the law's enactment. In 8th grade reading, there have been no gains since 1998. In mathematics, the gains were larger before NCLB in both 4th grade and 8th grade.
In the latest international assessment of mathematics and science, released this past December, U.S. students again scored well behind students in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Taipei. Our 4th grade and 8th grade students recorded small improvements in mathematics, but not in science, where those in both grades scored lower than in years predating No Child Left Behind.

The decline of 8th grade test scores in science from 2003 to 2007 demonstrates the consequences of ignoring everything but reading and mathematics. Because NCLB counts only those basic skills, it has necessarily reduced attention to such non-tested subjects as science, history, civics, the arts, and geography.
(NCLB) has encouraged the states to dumb down the standards by saying that every state would have its own definition of proficiency, every state would use its own test, by setting a deadline of 2014—which is totally unrealistic—by which all students are supposed to be proficient, and then having very onerous sanctions for schools that are unable to meet this completely unrealistic deadline. It's meant that everyone is encouraged to find ways to produce the numbers, and one thing we know from the market sector is that when the numbers are what counts, people meet the numbers, even though they sacrifice the goals of the organization. What we're doing instead of producing well-educated people is producing the numbers. The gains since No Child Left Behind was adopted are smaller than before No Child Left Behind was adopted.
The basic strategy is measuring and punishing. And it turns out that as a result of putting so much emphasis on the test scores, there's a lot of cheating going on; there's a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards, it's actually lowered standards because many states have dumbed down their tests, or changed the scoring of the tests, to say that more kids are passing than actually are.

There are states that say that 80 to 90 percent of their children are proficient readers and proficient in math. But when the national test is given, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the same state will have not 90 percent proficient, but 25 or 30 percent.
The Obama education reform plan is an aggressive version of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind, under which many schools have narrowed their curriculum to the tested subjects of reading and math. This poor substitute for a well-rounded education, which includes subjects such as the arts, history, geography, civics, science and foreign language, hits low-income children the hardest, since they are the most likely to attend the kind of "failing school" that drills kids relentlessly on the basics. Emphasis on test scores already compels teachers to focus on test preparation. Holding teachers personally and exclusively accountable for test scores — a key feature of Race to the Top — will make this situation even worse. Test scores will determine salary, tenure, bonuses and sanctions, as teachers and schools compete with each other, survival-of-the-fittest style.

e-mail Miller via a form here:

U.S. Mail

Hon. George Miller
2205 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

202-225-2095 (D.C.)
925-602-1880 (Concord)
510-262-6500 (Richmond)

707-645-1888 (Vallejo)

Or contact him through Facebook (the one with the picture of him that says “Local Business”).

— Caroline Grannan,
San Francisco public school parent and advocate


Monday, April 19, 2010

Bloomberg and Klein's "Choice and Charter" scheme exposed for what it is -- Jim Crow

Letting billionaires make decisions for us and re-instituting segregation isn't choice...

[Click if you can't view the video]

'In the long run, charter schools are being strategically used to pave the way for vouchers. The voucher advocates, who are very powerful and funded by right-wing foundations and families, recognize that the word voucher has been successfully discredited by enlightened Americans who believe in the public sector. So they've resorted to two strategies. First, they no longer use the word "vouchers." They've adopted the seemingly benign phrase "school choice," but they are still voucher advocates.' — Jonathan Kozol


¡La Marcha Unido! Ven con nosotros a Primero de Mayo

March on May Day!

Given the scale and viciousness of attacks on immigrants in particular under Janet Napolitano, and attacks in general on workers under the current administration, making this the largest International Workers Day march is beyond imperative. May Day is our day! Workers' rights and immigrant rights are one and the same! We demand full legalization for all, an end to the racist I.C.E. raids under Napolitano, no exploitative and racist "guest worker/bracero" programs to make the bosses richer, and for the right to organize at every workplace (ie. EFCA).

The SCIC has joined with other immigrant rights groups to announce the unified march this year. Here's footage of the press conference in which this historic announcement occured.

[Click if you can't view the video]

[Click if you can't view the video]


Friday, April 16, 2010

Is firing bad teachers really the key to fixing education?

Education historian/commentator Diane Ravitch points out that the states with non-union teachers (who thus have little or no job security) tend to have lower
academic achievement than the states with strong teachers' unions.

That should put to rest the myth that bad teachers with ironclad job security are the cause of the challenges facing public education.

As Ravitch adds, the state reported to have the consistently highest academic achievement is Massachusetts — a strong union state. (It’s also widely called "Taxachusetts" by the right — could there be a connection?)

Ravitch emphasizes that she's not necessarily saying that unionization and job
security lead to higher academic achievement, but the facts show that unionization and job security clearly don't work against higher academic achievement. They are correlated.

I thought it was worth looking for some data. But not officially being a statistician, I wasn’t really sure of the best measure of state-by-state academic achievement.

So I decided to look at one measure that interests me. That's the list of "cut scores" for National Merit semifinalists. National Merit recognition is based on
the PSAT scores of 11th-graders. The cut score for recognition varies from state
to state. That's explained this way on Wikipedia:

The minimum Selection Index for recognition as a Semifinalist is set by the NMSC [National Merit Scholarship Corporation] in each state at whatever score yields about the 99th percentile.

The organization FairTest has posted a list of the cut scores for the high school graduating class of 2010, which range from 201 (Wyoming) to 221 (Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey). California's is 218.

The National Right to Work Legal Foundation posts a list of Right-to-Work states (which don't allow workplaces to require union membership, meaning unions are toothless) and what the Foundation calls Force Unionism states. I took those lists, added each state’s Class of 2010 National Merit cut scores and averaged.

The results:
Right-to-Work states: average cut score 208.4545
Forced Unionism states: average cut score 213.6897

That result seems to show that unionized teachers correlate with higher academic achievement, and non-union teachers correlate with lower academic achievement.

If I’m missing confounding factors, I can’t see what they would be. It's true that not all 11th-graders take the PSAT, and the culture probably varies state by state as to whether taking the PSAT is more widely encouraged or less. But that wouldn’t seem to confound the basic finding.

By the way, the lowest-cut-score state — Wyoming at 201 — is a Right-to-Work state, and the three that are tied for highest — Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey — are strong labor states.

It seems conclusive: Teachers' job security — and, if you will, "forced unionism" — correlate with higher academic achievement.

— Caroline Grannan,
San Francisco public school parent and advocate


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Professor Ravitch was kind enough to pose in a photograph

"Race to the Top bribes States to do the wrong thing." — Diane Ravitch (celebrated education professor and author)

An Afternoon with Diane Ravitch - at UCLA 2010-04-12

The Diane Ravitch event at UCLA was very well attended and an excellent occasion overall. Her hour long talk and the question and answer session with UCLA's Professor Mike Rose afterwards were engaging and informative. I will have a write up on the event soon, but have too many article deadlines beforehand. For now, I was fortunate enough get a photograph with the author during her book signing.

Dr. Ravitch was at UCLA to discuss her watershed new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Jim Horn, Ph.D. of the highly respected Schools Matter blog had this to say about the Ravitch tour:

Thanks to Ravitch, the truth has just gone mass market (most likely NYTimes Bestseller List), and nothing could be sweeter than the squirming among the corporate leeches and snake oil salesmen who have taken public education to the brink of destruction.

In A school is not a business Jeff Bale reviews Ravitch's new book that dismantles the justifications for George Bush's No Child Left Behind law and school privatization.


On April 17, 2010 Stand Up To The Nazis!

"[T]he collective neurosis of the petty bourgeoisie, its readiness to believe in miracles, its readiness for violent measures..." — Leon Trotsky

Nazis -- almost as evil as the teabaggers, and certainly not welcome in our communities!

Virginia's Governor declaring April "Celebrate Chattel Slavery Month." Gubernatorial candidate and California Charter School Association (CCSA) founder Steve Poizner threatening to send the National Guard to the border. Textbooks in Texas now eschewing Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall in favor of renowned racist reactionaries like Newt Gingrich. Green Dot Public [sic] Schools and American Indian Public Charter School requiring "pledges" to capitalism. Teabaggers allowed to display open racism and homophobia towards members of Congress. Los Angeles Parents Union Parent Revolution's Ben Austin getting appointed to the California Board of Education by fellow Milton Freidman acolyte Arnold Schwarzenegger. DFER Charter-Voucher school cheerleader and hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson being able to say things like "we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks" in public forums.

These are just a sample of recent incidents and current events. From them it's clear that despite small numbers, the fringe right has a great deal of momentum and power disproportionate to their size. During times of economic crises — like this great recession caused by Wall Street — politics are polarized. This means many people are beginning to draw the correct conclusions about our economic system and imperialism, and how it needs to be discarded. Sadly it also means there are some people drawn to right wing extremism. White supremacist groups including NSM, Stormfront, Teabagging, KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other reactionary right wing groups are actively recruiting and growing. Their vile hate speech allows politicians, media sources, and other right wingers just to the left of them to appear "reasonable" in comparison. This explains how a right-wing Democrat like Yolie Flores Aguilar, Inc. was able to lift and employ the dubious and infamous operative segregationist phrase "school choice" from the Jim Crow era, and then be heralded as a civil rights advocate by her fellow right of center DFER/DLC peers.

This is why it is so important to stamp out neo-fascistic movements wherever and whenever they appear. Join a multi-racial coalition this Saturday to send the Nazis back under the rock they crawled out from.

2010-04-14 Update - Press Conference Announced:



Linh Hua | 310-622-3511 |

Danielle Heck | 310-404-1739 |

WHO: Coalition of Community Activists, Students, Teachers, Community Members, and Labor and Religious Leaders

WHAT: THIS IS OUR CITY! Press Conference

WHERE: Los Angeles City Hall, South Side

WHEN: Thursday, April 15; 9:30am



An ad hoc coalition of community activists, students, teachers, community residents, and labor and religious leaders will gather on the South Side of Downtown City Hall tomorrow, THURSDAY, April 15th, to SPEAK OUT against the Neo-nazi rally and recruitment scheduled for Saturday, April 17th. Known formally as the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the Nazis call for a white-supremacist world order built fundamentally upon hate and violence against immigrants, Jews, non-whites, the LGTB (lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual) community, and what they call "pro-Marxist unions." They aim to "reclaim the Southwest" by attacking the cultural strength of Los Angeles. According to Adam Lerman, an organizer with the National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition (NWROC), one of several groups scheduled to speak at Thursday's press conference, "LA is the home of the great immigrant rights marches of 2006 and the new mass student movement of 2009/10. We will not allow the racist scum of the NSM to use our city as a launching point for a campaign of racist harassment, abuse, assault and murder. The NSM seeks to convince white youth that the best way to respond to the economic crisis, budget cuts and the increasing cost of higher education is to fight to strengthen white privilege. We stand for building an integrated, united struggle for increased resources, for greater educational opportunity for everyone, for equality."

The coalition demands that our representatives meet this serious attack on Los Angeles with serious action!! "History clearly shows that when good people fail to take Nazi rallies seriously, they and other neo-fascist groups grow ever stronger," warns James Lafferty, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild, L.A.

Given the dire economic conditions that we are currently facing, the city of Los Angeles must vigilantly stand against all incitement of hate and scapegoating. As local LA Unified teacher Bill Neal pointedly observes, "The truth is that mainstream politics fuels the hate that Nazis exploit... This problem can only be resolved by the voices of ordinary people rising above the callous blame game, the hopeless scapegoating, and violent hate, and building a grassroots alternative to the politics of despair."

We demand that our city representatives stand with us against Nazi terrorism. We demand that city revenue go towards education, jobs, healthcare, not police protection for Neo-Nazis. As Geri Silva, Executive Director of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (FACTS) argues, "The more we find ourselves linked by our position outside the bounty of what society is offering, the more we find comfort with each other, the more we need and accept each other and conversely the less we will tolerate groups that espouse race hatred and white supremacy. Neo-Nazi groups have no rights that good people have to respect."


Among those participating in this coalition to protest the Nazis are The Jewish Labor Committee--Western Region, Peace and Freedom Party, International Socialist Organization, National Womens Rights Organizing Coalition (NWROC), Librarians' Guild, Radical Women, the Southern California Immigration Coalition, Rev. Jay Atkinson, Minister Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City, T Santora, President, CWA 9000; riKu Matsuda--host of Flip the Script on KPFK, Union del Barrio, the Here to Stay Coalition; Sonia Bautista, President of REFORMA, L.A.; organizers from the March 4 student protests; the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN/LA); Marie Cartier, PhD at Cal State Northridge's Gender and Women Studies Department; Circulo Mictlanxiuhcoatl; the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Southern California; AIDS activist J.T. Anderson; Thandisizwe Chimurenga of the Ida B. Wells Institute; the Arbeter Ring (Workmens Circle); and the Puerto Rican Alliance.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

What would a real "Parent Revolution" look like?

...well it would at least be this critical of our reactionary millionaire Governor, whose refusal to tax corporations and the über-rich has placed their selfsame created financial crisis squarely on working class families.

[Click if you can't view the video]

This video is meant to be humorous, but the points it makes are cogent and real. While teacher and union bashing is all the rage with the elitist DFER/DLC/LAPU/PR jet-set, budget cuts are to blame all around here. What's more is that CMO charters exacerbate these problems, and so called "choice" is simply a way to re-segregate society, avoid teaching ELL and Special Needs Children, and let the rich further divide us. These aren't just the well documented conclusions the left has drawn — for a right of center analysis of these issues please read Diane Ravitch's watershed new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.